Which one isn't getting the message?

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mercyngrace
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Re: Which one isn't getting the message?

Post by mercyngrace » 29 Jan 2014, 15:38

DarkJedi wrote:I wanted to post this reply separate so it didn't get lost in the jumble of the above. Do you think missionaries might find more success if missions were more like the Peace Corps than guys in suits knocking on doors? If missionaries went out and truly lived among the people and worked with the people and truly physically/temporally helped people, do you think that would go much farther than knocking on a door and saying "We're in your neighborhood today sharing a message about Jesus Christ?" Which one really brings the gospel to people? Is it better to demonstrate the gospel as opposed to talking about it?

Back to the OP, I'm reminded of the old flood joke where God says "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what else was I supposed to do?" Is God sending a message to missionaries (and the church) and are missionaries and the church not hearing it?

(I think my opinion on the subject is probably obvious. :smile:)
Yes.

Probably 95% of the folks I taught who were baptized were a direct result of some sort of service. It wasn't always organized service but it was because my companion and I helped someone who was struggling in some way. We had some successes with tracting but were far more effective when we served people, whether it was helping someone off the bus who had arms loaded with bags or tossing a soccer ball back to kids after it had rolled into the street.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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cwald
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Re: Which one isn't getting the message?

Post by cwald » 29 Jan 2014, 16:11

Pretty well the gospel and the church are the same thing, in the opinion of most faithful members.

If one is not part of the church, or leaves the church...they reject the gospel of Jesus Christ.

From my experience, this is the common opinion that most active members have.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

church0333
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Re: Which one isn't getting the message?

Post by church0333 » 29 Jan 2014, 17:09

So in the grand scheme of things is missionary work helping or hurting the people. If the person already has accepted the gospel and Christ but does not join the church will he be given the opportunity in the next life to accept the Mormon Christ and all the rules. If he was taught in this life that it was okay to drink coffee and tea and have a beer on occasion and to take care of physical needs in the natural way, then those things will not count against him in the next life but if he does join the church and he takes care of his needs in a natural way and drinks coffee now and then or drinks a beer then will these things count as a black mark against that person? So is it better that he joined the church in this life or not heard about it? The same thing could be said about tithing, if a person is not remember the church and they don't pay tithing I don't think it is held against them but if they are members of the church, according to our teachings and they don't pay tithing that will count against them. It doesn't seem like being a member brings a lot more to the table if the persons is already living a Christ like life. I can see how joining the church and giving up a lot of harmful habits would be good if the changes were lasting but if they were not lasting changes then joining the church would be more harmful in the long run. Does this make since?

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SamBee
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Re: Which one isn't getting the message?

Post by SamBee » 29 Jan 2014, 17:14

mercyngrace wrote: It would be very interesting to see convert demographics. Are most
convert baptisms in the first half of life, for example, when most
people are likely still grappling with binary thinking? Do we get a lot
of 50 years olds in the font? Folks who have lived a little longer and
are more likely to live content in the uncertainty and with less drive
to be "right".
Oh there's plenty of black and white thinking amongst older people! Some get very set in the mindset of bigotry and worse.

I think at least a third of our local baptisms are in the middle age + range.

However, I also suspect young missionaries attract young people. Older wiser people don't always appreciate twenty somethings pontificating about what they have probably never experienced. How can they talk about marriage or children for example?
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SamBee
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Re: Which one isn't getting the message?

Post by SamBee » 29 Jan 2014, 17:26

The Peace Corps analogy is an interesting one, but with one key caveat. I think PC is a great idea, but at its worst it can be quasi-colonial i.e. "look at me helping these poor dark skinned folks, I'm so great"... Mishies needn't become like that, they're better going native.

Actions do speak louder than words.

Many non-members put up the defense screen when they see missionaries. One friend said to me "they're like aliens" - I've also heard them likened to Men in Black, FBI etc. Touches of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction too.

Sister missionaries have a better look IMHO, less besuited, more natural.

I like seeing them do service, because although some do it begrudgingly, it shows them as themselves... there's less a feeling of the script and the plan (small p)
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Which one isn't getting the message?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Jan 2014, 13:23

church0333, I approached my mission as an attempt to find people for whom our teachings would resonate and for whom joining the Church would make a real difference in their lives. I didn't try to convince anyone of anything.

As to your questions, I think it all depends on how we individually view God. The thing that gives me the most peace about the questions is the core concept that every person will be judged according to how they tried to live according to their own conscience (and kept trying to change and grow when they recognized mistakes and weaknesses, no matter their "success rate") - and that the judgment will be overseen by someone(s) who truly, deeply, "parentally" love(s) them and who has/have all eternity to be patient and long-suffering before declaring it is finished.

That is how I see God, so that is my faith - and the overall theology of Mormonism is about the only place where that is taught within Christianity, even if it isn't understood by so many members.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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DarkJedi
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Re: Which one isn't getting the message?

Post by DarkJedi » 30 Jan 2014, 14:03

My faith has certainly evolved to be more like yours Curtis and I do believe we will be judged more on living the two great commandments than anything else. However, I get Church333's point and that is church doctrine. It was indeed part of my FC - that I would be held to a higher standard and perhaps denied the CK simply because I was a member of the church while those who were involved with the evil that perpetuated the FC might just get to the CK because they had less given them. It has been a very long road overcoming that idea, and frankly I'm still not completely over it because of how it's ingrained. I did find myself wishing I had never joined the church and that idea was indeed part of my consideration when I was thinking of name removal.

I approached my mission differently as well, and I never used the phrase "sharing the gospel." I did wholly believe it was my job to convert people, not to teach the gospel. In retrospect and if I had it to do over I'd do it much differently. I agree with your prior post that no tracting/street contacting might miss some people, but I think statistics show there are very few of them anyway. If we really do believe God prepares people to hear the gospel (as many missionaries do but I don't), those people will be found regardless. In my own mission, which was a very low baptizing one, I found service to be very important - those we served and served with were much more likely to join the church and stay, as were people who were good friends with members. Regardless of which pair of missionaries is there for service,the service persists, and changing missionaries in the situation actually helps, I believe, because others have the opportunity to see the same in others (and it lessens the conversion to the missionaries as opposed to the church).
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Which one isn't getting the message?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Jan 2014, 14:14

I get the point, also, DJ - and I agree that the concerns express a dominant thought among lots of members. I didn't mean to dismiss anything in my response; I just don't worry about the questions, personally.

I simply don't accept anything that says joining or not joining the Church is good or bad, universally. I am very happy, overall, in the Church - and if someone needs what we teach and practice, long-term or short-term, I believe joining is a good thing and will encourage it. If not, not. I don't lose sleep over it - and this site is about finding ways to figure out our own answers and be at peace with them, even if they are different than others' answers. I don't have to accept any common views if they don't work for me, and accepting that simple paradigm change can make all the difference in my happiness and joy.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

church0333
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Re: Which one isn't getting the message?

Post by church0333 » 30 Jan 2014, 16:31

DJ, I agree that the two great commandments of loving God and being good to others are the only commandments that really matter with all that they would include and I am learning to live with that. On the other hand I think that the church sees things way different. Those commandments hardly count at all. The TR does not really touch on those much at all either. On the surface, the people at church look at the do's and don't's more than what is in a person's heart but I guess that I understand that is a lot easier to judge. The missionaries come to dinner about every other month and give a lesson and ask for names of people top contact and we have given them some but only because of the pressure we feel do do so. As a couple we have discussed this and in truth even in my most more believing days it was hard to come up with people because our friends outside of the church are good people and live good lives and they seem happy and it is hard to tell them that they are wrong and need my truths to make them happy. I am really not all that happy right now and would not wish these feelings of confusion on anyone. I do agree that service is a great thing to give and find that is one of the reasons that I am staying with the church for now. There are also really good people and friends at church, but I guess that could be said about most churches.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Which one isn't getting the message?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Jan 2014, 17:47

On the other hand I think that the church sees things way different. Those commandments hardly count at all.


I think that's unfair, church0333. I think people generally feel like the rules are a way to show love - and that there have to be actions involved in order to exhibit real love - that "love" is meaningless without actions. Personally, I believe strongly that love that is only expressed and not shown through action is not love in any meaningful way - so I understand the tendency to equate rules with ways to show love. I might not agree with specific rules or cultural standards, but I think there is an underlying assumption in the Church that absolutely values the two great commandments as the ultimate standard - even though it often is such an assumption that people don't think they have to mention it.

Just as an example, at one point in my life, grace was almost never mentioned. We believed in it, when you get right down to it, but it was such an assumed part of "salvation" that it got overlooked regularly. In the past couple of decades, however, grace has been mentioned quite regularly in General Conference - perhaps because the leadership changed or because the leadership realized that not talking about it directly was leading members to misunderstand and move toward an incorrect extreme.

I see that happening quite regularly in the last few years with regard to love, as well. What has been unspoken for a long time is starting to be spoken, and I think that's a good thing that ought to be acknowledged in a forum like this.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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